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Author Topic: How effective are avalanche airbags?  (Read 31030 times)
0321Recon
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Re: How effective are avalanche airbags?
« Reply #25 on: 03/04/18, 07:58 PM »

Considering I do a lot of solo skiing and feel a need to start switching my skiing up by doing more off piste skiing,�I figure my best option is to have an avalanche airbag. How effective are these devices?�Could they also help protect the individual from a massive fall over rocks?� From this video, it looks like a worthy investment. I figure with no wife and or kids, I might as well start skiing as such!lol

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ZUau1J5vig

In addition to report linked by GravityMK, The WMS rates airbags as 1B, so besides not going, current evidence supports airbags at being at the top of preventing morbidity.
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Chris S
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Re: How effective are avalanche airbags?
« Reply #26 on: 03/05/18, 09:04 AM »

Posting bogus observations under the alias “Observations for Money” on NWAC is a douche move

What am I missing? What does bogus observations have to do with this thread?
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Chris
Jim Oker
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Re: How effective are avalanche airbags?
« Reply #27 on: 03/06/18, 10:57 AM »

What am I missing? What does bogus observations have to do with this thread?
It's  a tangent to  the tangent about "near miss reporting" by guide operations. *Someone* posted some bogus NWAC observation  reports that were clearly  taking aim at this same issue. Which some of us see as taking a dump out in the shared commons and unlikely to garner any added support on  that issue.
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Jason4
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Re: How effective are avalanche airbags?
« Reply #28 on: 03/06/18, 01:53 PM »

From what I've read about the recent double fatality in the Teanaway area both of the riders that died had deployed their airbags.  It will be interesting to see the full NWAC accident report.
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Free your heel, free your mind.
Fix your heel, fix your problem.
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Jim Oker
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Re: How effective are avalanche airbags?
« Reply #29 on: 03/06/18, 02:01 PM »

I saw one social  media post where it was claimed that  one of them was buried something like 14' deep =8-O

Sounded like one of the survivors had serious  trauma and will be lucky to regain decent use of one leg.
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gravitymk
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Re: How effective are avalanche airbags?
« Reply #30 on: 03/06/18, 02:09 PM »

From what I've read about the recent double fatality in the Teanaway area both of the riders that died had deployed their airbags.  It will be interesting to see the full NWAC accident report.

A post in Snowest states the same.
Here are a couple of quotes with names redacted in case they aren't yet public.

"name withheld was buried way down like 15’ with a bag on and deployed"

"name withheld had a bca 32 pack on and it COMPLETELY ripped the air bag off the AVY pack and he was buried and down a few feet with the empty avy pack attached to him"


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Chris S
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Re: How effective are avalanche airbags?
« Reply #31 on: 03/07/18, 01:12 PM »

Wow. Debris 15' deep (or deeper) indicates a massive avalanche - D3-4.
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Chris
cumulus
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Re: How effective are avalanche airbags?
« Reply #32 on: 03/07/18, 01:37 PM »

So much for airbags "being at the top of preventing morbidity,"  or it being the next best thing to staying at home... These were horrific tragedies and my heart goes out to their families and loved ones.

I think it's worth pondering how the use of airbags may make one feel more invincible--less prone to morbidity--and how this may lead us to put ourselves in a situation we may otherwise not be in.
And if so, it would seem the whole airbag thing is working counter to its stated intention of increased safety...

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Stefan
BillK
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Re: How effective are avalanche airbags?
« Reply #33 on: 03/07/18, 09:29 PM »

Mostly these fatalities seem to be related to inexperienced people not knowing as much as they think they do about where to be (or not) in dangerous conditions....back to terrain choice, obviously.  Airbag seems to have little to do with it.  The 'bilers we're parked in a runout, no?  Ignorance of the potential danger.
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Jim Oker
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Re: How effective are avalanche airbags?
« Reply #34 on: 03/08/18, 08:24 AM »

Good point. It's presumably hard to float when the ipile  just comes down onto you.
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Charlie Hagedorn
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Re: How effective are avalanche airbags?
« Reply #35 on: 03/08/18, 09:50 AM »

Wow. Debris 15' deep (or deeper) indicates a massive avalanche - D3-4.

The images on Snowest suggest that terrain-trap amplification of burial depth was possible. NWAC is calling it D2.5 in the short statement on the accident page.
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cumulus
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Re: How effective are avalanche airbags?
« Reply #36 on: 03/08/18, 09:54 AM »

Mostly these fatalities seem to be related to inexperienced people not knowing as much as they think they do about where to be (or not) in dangerous conditions....back to terrain choice, obviously. 

You seem pretty sure of yourself.
I don't think it's so obvious.

The word 'experienced' or 'inexperienced' means nothing here. I think if you look at the majority of avalanche fatalities you will find the deceased described as experienced. You can chalk that up to the law of ratios... the more you go, the more likely...  But in the end, whether experienced or inexperienced, it always comes down to "people not knowing as much as they think they do."


Or maybe they do...   and they think they can get away with it.
Who really knows?

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Stefan
cumulus
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Re: How effective are avalanche airbags?
« Reply #37 on: 03/08/18, 11:07 AM »

Thanks for the link Charlie. That pic is no picnic.

The riders are refreshingly frank in their discussion, worth going over to take a look (you have to become a member to do so).


a quote from Snowest.com re Gallagher 180303 avi apropos airbags:  "I ride around 50 times a year so my actual riding miles and experience sometimes out weighs guys who have been riding for 10 years. When I first got into the sport I went out and bought a beacon, shovel, and Avy pack. My first couple years the mentality I had was I have all the stuff if I am in an Avy I'll pull the cord and I'll be fine. I don't blame shops or other riders for giving me this mentality but this IS the stigma in the sport."

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Stefan
cumulus
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Re: How effective are avalanche airbags?
« Reply #38 on: 03/08/18, 11:15 AM »

fuck it, here's the rest of the quote. It's too good not to quote in its entirety -

"I see 50 people leave the Snopark every weekend wearing Avy packs that don't even have the riding ability where they should even be in an area where they would ever need an Avy pack. I mean are you even serious throwing a Avy pack on your wife? Is it so she can pull the cord when she is in a run out watching you sidehill above her? Yet the shops continue to sell them to anyone who walks in the door. When my buddy Josh Roth was killed last year my outlook on avalanches completely changed. I no longer was thinking about how I would survive an avalanche. I was thinking about how I can I completely avoid one altogether. A lot of people criticize me now because I rarely ride with an air bag but I don't give a **** what anyone says those things give you false confidence. It may be 100% subliminal but they DO. If you were dropped in the backcountry in your T shirt with none of your supplier or Avy gear you would 100% change what you would hit and what you wouldn't hit. There are plenty of people on this forum that have seen me ride and I am sure would criticize choices they have seen me make. I am no saint nor can I say I am the safest person on the mountain. I do assess each situation though and make my choices based on my assessment. I however never put anyone in my group in a situation where I am telling them they have to do something. If one single person in a group feels uncomfortable then the whole group should be uncomfortable and go another route. I love Kyle to death and this absolutely tears me apart that this happened. I wish I hadn't been in McCall and I was with him that day. Once again this is a huge game changer for me moving forward and riding after this accident. I can't stress enough though about the decisions we make in the backcountry. Because I can 100% guarantee the day there is some random avalanche that kills anyone I know that nobody could have done anything about I will give away my sleds and never ride again...
"
- Chadly
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Stefan
AlpineRose
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Re: How effective are avalanche airbags?
« Reply #39 on: 03/08/18, 03:28 PM »

 
Quote
If one single person in a group feels uncomfortable then the whole group should be uncomfortable and go another route.


It goes without saying (even though I'm saying it), that group dynamics should be such that that single person feels free to speak up.  Without being considered a wuss.
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Lowell_Skoog
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Re: How effective are avalanche airbags?
« Reply #40 on: 03/08/18, 05:06 PM »

It's a tangent to the tangent about "near miss reporting" by guide operations. *Someone* posted some bogus NWAC observation  reports that were clearly  taking aim at this same issue. Which some of us see as taking a dump out in the shared commons and unlikely to garner any added support on  that issue.

Heli-Free North Cascades admitted to being that "someone." He wrote:

http://www.turns-all-year.com/skiing_snowboarding/trip_reports/index.php?topic=39779.msg160357#msg160357

Quote
an observation that I reported on the nwac observations page and made under the name "vague observations for money" disappeared, presumably deleted. I reported two significant Avalanches which we encountered on a tour on March 1st and I posted those observations early in the morning on March 2nd.  Since we saw fresh ski tracks near one of the Avalanches we did a quick transceiver search with no results. That was also reported.

Nwac, in my opinion, has a guide centric bias.

Maybe they didn't like my political public safety message along with my observation. I'm concerned if a government agency deleted the public record.

I sent nwac an email concerning this issue and have not heard back, or even an acknowledgement that the email was received.

Two days later we had our first skier Avy fatality here on the North Eastside Cascades.

Several people have speculated the NWAC deleted the observation because the poster's handle ("vague observations for money") made the whole thing sound bogus. That seems like a reasonable conclusion to me.

Regarding HFNC's concern about a government agency deleting a public post, I suggest that he educate himself about NWAC's structure. NWAC is a non-profit, educational organization that works in partnership with Forest Service employees (the forecasters) who generate the forecasts. As far as I know, the NWAC website is under control of the non-profit organization and is not a government resource. See:

https://www.nwac.us/support/frequently-asked-questions/
« Last Edit: 03/08/18, 06:20 PM by Lowell_Skoog » Logged
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